Socialism and Economic Development in Tropical Africa


  • Giovanni Arrighi
  • John S. Saul



Imperialism, Marxism


A sophisticated socialist position in contemporary Africa must fuse a concern for an increased rate of economic development with a perception of the role played in the development process by the existence and emergence of classes and groups with divergent interests and differential access to benefits. Only if these factors are taken into account can one understand the extent to which the productive potential of African societies, and therefore their development and structural transformation, are constrained by the present pattern of world and domestic economy and society. The available surplus is being drained away, for example, as the repatriated profits of overseas firms; or it is consumed by self-indulgent domestic elites. As a consequence, the generation of a larger surplus from an aroused and mobilized peasantry is discouraged. It is, in brief, the pattern of inequality which tends to hamper a rise in productivity.

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